Lots of bird action and Mediterranean dreaming

Let's dip into the Mediterranean

Last fall, Sue and I went on a 21 day cruise that I only mentioned in passing, so I thought I would write a little bit about the trip now, as it is settled in my mind and it's a good time to remember how nice the weather was in the Mediterranean.

Firstly, this was a relocation cruise, intended to show folks the Mediterranean and to get the ship back to the Caribbean for winter cruises. The ship was the Nieuw Amsterdam, a brand new 2,100-passenger ship that started cruising July 1, 2010. The captain was a crusty Englishman by the name of Jonathan Mercer. He lives in Florida and Great Britain, depending on the weather.

The ship is decorated in an art deco theme, with lots of brown and big blue balls for doorknobs. Stainless steel is the featured material for hardware and elevator doors and entrance doors to the decks. Everything worked very well and there were no significant problems. Some electrical work was going on relative to an extensive data system.

We joined the ship in Barcelona, after being up for about 24 hours with only a short doze on the 747 from Boston. The program is for the ship to move at night to allow passengers to visit the countries during the day. Each day at a port is an opportunity to go ashore where there are day trips of one sort or another at an extra cost. We went to Florence and Rome on these trips, which I will report on in the future.

The ship left Barcelona for Monte Carlo, then on to Livorno (port for Florence) and Civitavecchia (port for Rome) in Italy. We returned westerly toward Spain for two days at sea en route to Valencia, Cartagena, Almeria and Cadiz. In Portugal, we visited Portimao and Lisbon, then ended with seven days at sea and arrived at Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

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